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Difference between regret and remorse

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Imabrokenman posted 7/19/2014 00:23 AM

My BW has mentioned several times about the difference between regret and remorse. She claims that I am regretful, but not remorseful.

I journaled today that regret is defined as "emotions raging from being disappointed to intense sorrow due mainly to an exteranl circumstance or event" and remorse is defined as "deep regret, involving anguish or guilt and self-reproach or repentance."

I feel I am completely remorseful about what I have caused, but apparently she hasn't seen that. Does anyone else have this issue? A BS not understanding how you feel inside?

BrokenButTrying posted 7/19/2014 05:01 AM

In general (for any situation, not just infidelity) regret is feeling bad about how the consequences of your behaviour affect you. Remorse is the understanding of how your behaviour affects other people.

Can you ask her to be specific about why she feels you aren't demonstrating remorse?

What you feel on the inside means nothing if you aren't communicating it in the right way to your BS. What are you doing to show you are remorseful?

lovemywife4ever posted 7/19/2014 10:26 AM

Yes. She says I don't get it. She thinks there is more. There is not. She really thinks I just planned this and am happy I did this. I honestly think she really hates me more than anyone on the planet. True feelings in me are that I hate that I did this to her, me, and us. I hate that her pain is intense. It makes me want to run away.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/19/2014 13:13 PM

Gently, she does hate you more than anyone on the planet. Because you hurt her more than anyone on the planet. But she also loves you.

If she thinks there is more you're not telling her, what are you doing to be transparent? Have you given her a time line? Does she have access to everything? Passwords, phone bills, etc?

How are you demonstrating your remorse? Are you validating her when she talks about her pain?

It makes me want to run away

Maybe this is what she's picking up on? You might be subconsciously communicating this, she might feel you are withdrawing or that you have one foot out the door.

DrJekyll posted 7/19/2014 21:06 PM

My BS has transitioned from stating she sees no remorse, to she sees some remorse. For myself it was acknowledging her pain, looking in her eyes. And for somebody who doesn't cry, on occasion I have cried with no leading up to it. Out of nowhere, the hurt became overwhelming. Not because she was yelling at me. But because I felt it. Our BS have to trust their feelings. And when your BS feels it, she will know it.

painfulpast posted 7/20/2014 09:27 AM

"deep regret, involving anguish or guilt and self-reproach or repentance."

Gently, this would be deep regret. Remorse involves moving past this and onto caring more about the pain your actions have caused than the pain you are in as a result of the consequences of those actions. Remorse is, as difficult as it may be, doing what your BS needs, without regard to your own comfort, pain, shame, embarrassment, or anything else. It is giving up the inner struggle to focus on the struggle of another due to your actions.

Deep regret involving anguish or guilt is almost the opposite of remorse, actually. Deep regret focuses solely on the one that feels the regret.

Imabrokenman posted 7/20/2014 11:41 AM

I truly feel complete remorse for everything I have done to my BS. It hurts me to my core. Every minute of every day.

I think my issue is relating that remorse to her. This is difficult as we talk on the phone and text more than meet face to face.

20WrongsVs1 posted 7/20/2014 12:25 PM

Ima, we WS need to transition from extreme selfishness (cheating on our spouses) to compassionate empathy, and that often doesn't happen quickly. It took me a good 6 months. Your BW is under no obligation to wait that long, but ITA with her that (based upon this thread alone) you are not remorseful.

You say, "It hurts me to my core" and "my BS doesn't understand how I feel inside." That's self-pity, my wayward friend. Not remorse.

Remorse, for me, was the crushing realization of how deeply I had hurt BH, and that he had done nothing to deserve that.

Imabrokenman posted 7/20/2014 12:58 PM

20 Wrongs - thanks for your insight. I appreciate your thoughts.

I see now that me mentioning that "she doesn't know how I feel inside" is self pity. I went through the self pity stage deeply for the first several weeks after DDay 1 and 2. I realized that this was doing nothing beneficial, and I have tried to avoid this behavior. Thanks for calling me out.

islesguy posted 7/21/2014 10:08 AM

Here is how I feel:

Regret is being upset about what has happened to you or how your relationship has changed because of your actions.

Remorse is really understanding how your actions have effected your BS and feeling so badly that you have put all of this pain and suffering on someone else.

Imabrokenman posted 7/21/2014 10:33 AM

Islesguy -

I could not agree more. And that remorse doesn't end at BS, but all of the ancillary pain you have caused to family, friends, etc.

This was something I never really considered when I was in the middle of the affair - that the pain would be so devastating to my BS and that the pain would not be limited to her. I blocked out what the end result would be.

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

LostTime posted 7/21/2014 11:23 AM

I totally agree and truly feel I understand the differences between regret and remorse.

Is there a part of letting go that means we can't control whether our BS sees the remorse or not?

Yes I have very deep regrets over what I have done and the reality it has caused, but the way I feel about what I have brought onto and into the heart of my BW is a pain that is horrible and drives me to work on myself daily. It is humbling to feel this knowing she feels infinitely worse and had no choice in finding herself here.

I am struggling with the selfish want for her to see the remorse I feel, but she does not. I believe that selfishness is the root cause. Because I still do deflect and defend and I think it clouds the truth behind my feelings. I have awareness of this and am working to change it, unfortunately it still means seeing it after the fact, which is like one step forward and two steps backwards.

Ultimately it doesn't change how I feel but it does affect the ability to effectively help support my BW.

ThatGirl2 posted 7/22/2014 15:13 PM

There are some good points of clarification here; it's a fine line between regret and remorse, but there is a difference.

I think sometimes the BS just needs time to "digest" was has happened; they are in such deep pain, and they are angry (understandably so). I think sometimes they need to "come around" to seeing remorse; give your BS space to work through the anger and pain. In the interim, you need to work on yourself. Figure yourself out, get to the bottom line. Ask yourself the hard questions, and get to an answer - the REAL answer. Be as loving, empathetic and comforting as possible toward your BS - at all times.

Let all that you do be done in love.

lovemywife4ever posted 7/22/2014 18:16 PM

Remorse literally hurts. She doesn't see that in me but it truly hurts all over. Some of that is self pity I will admit but the ache of what the hell have I done breaks me into two.

LostTime posted 7/22/2014 21:23 PM

Imabrokenman -

I've been thinking about this a lot today. I think as WS we are extremely selfish and self-centered. I think in my mind we need to let go of being understood. I know my BW does not feel heard and understood and the more we push for them to see how we feel and that we do feel remorse and pain for their pain the more we're missing the point - does that make sense?

We can't force them to want to understand anything about us anymore. We gave up that right. They are all that matters in this picture. They didn't have a choice, we did, so what we feel is (to use a word from my BW)'irrelevant'. The rest is selfish and self-pity and will only hold us back.

In my case, I have pretty much zero self worth. I have to finally own my feelings and be aware of them and that in itself has to be enough for me.

It is easier said then done, especially when my BW is angry and doesn't want to hear sh!t from me and I feel like there's no point or it's hopeless and going nowhere. That is when I have to push through and have faith in myself to focus that mental energy on figuring myself out because I sure as hell don't want to be here ever again. Sorry for the T/J but I hope it's relevant for you.

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